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Adv Space Res. 1996;18(1-2):99-108.

Radiation-induced chromosomal instability in human mammary epithelial cells.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, Universit√† di Napoli "Federico II", Napoli, Italy.


Karyotypes of human cells surviving X- and alpha-irradiation have been studied. Human mammary epithelial cells of the immortal, non-tumorigenic cell line H184B5 F5-1 M/10 were irradiated and surviving clones isolated and expanded in culture. Cytogenetic analysis was performed using dedicated software with an image analyzer. We have found that both high- and low-LET radiation induced chromosomal instability in long-term cultures, but with different characteristics. Complex chromosomal rearrangements were observed after X-rays, while chromosome loss predominated after alpha-particles. Deletions were observed in both cases. In clones derived from cells exposed to alpha-particles, some cells showed extensive chromosome breaking and double minutes. Genomic instability was correlated to delayed reproductive death and neoplastic transformation. These results indicate that chromosomal instability is a radiation-quality-dependent effect which could determine late genetic effects, and should therefore be carefully considered in the evaluation of risk for space missions.

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